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    Tried and Tested: Can a Rangemaster range cooker take the stress out of hosting?

    If you love hosting big dinner parties, you’re probably not a stranger to the stress that sometimes (often) comes with them. Well, if you’re ready to commit to your role as the host with the most, you’ll definitely want to think about investing in a range cooker. We asked Donna from @love.to.be.home to test out a Rangemaster model, to see if it was the perfect sous chef.

    You know when you’ve had an idea, or a picture in your head for so long and the excitement slowly builds until it becomes a reality? I want to share that with you, so here we go. Let’s set the scene – the table was laid, my apron was on, a glass of wine was poured, and I had prepped the food for our first family roast dinner since the kitchen was completed.

    The renovation was a year-long process and towards the end, I have to admit, we didn’t eat well – no oven, no work surfaces and, well…no kitchen. Mealtimes became reheated food or takeaways, which wasn’t ideal but a necessity at the time. Now that that’s behind us, it felt great to test out the Rangemaster range cooker and make hearty, healthy meals for the family. When designing the kitchen, I did a lot of research on appliances, so I was keen to test this model out and see if it lived up to the reviews.

    We’re excited for you! What were your first impressions of the range cooker? 

    When the cooker arrived and the packaging had been taken off, my first impressions lived up to my expectations of this well-known, trusted household brand. You can’t help but notice the quality of the materials and I loved the style and appearance (which was important to me), as it was to become the focal point in my new kitchen.

    I had never owned an oven this size before, or one that had so many features. As a family, we’ve only experienced the standard four burners and one oven, so the thought of having five gas burners (one being a wok burner), a separate glide-out grill and two spacious fan ovens got me really excited. The cooking options are endless, and I knew that it’d allow me to explore recipes that I wouldn’t have tried before. The fact that my family often enjoy something a bit different at meal times no longer felt as daunting as before, as there’s plenty of room to cook what everyone enjoys.

    My only reservation when the cooker arrived was whether I had allowed enough space for it. I designed the kitchen myself, so the pressure was on. Thankfully, it fitted like a glove. I’d suggest allowing an extra 5-10mm either side, to allow for the cooker to be moved in and out for easy cleaning and servicing.

    We challenged you to whip up a few courses for your friends or family. How did it go?

    Firstly, inviting my family round for dinner after a somewhat challenging period in everyone’s lives, where we could enjoy home cooked food and each other’s company, felt great. My in-laws are of a mature generation, but very much young at heart (I had to be careful how I phrased that) and they love nothing more than a traditional, roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. I obviously couldn’t refuse this request, nor the request for my cherry crumble, which is a firm family favourite. I’ve learnt from past experiences that a starter is not required with such a hearty meal, but that didn’t stop me from trying out all of the oven’s features, all at the same time.

    Cooking for six people was enjoyable and a breeze (who’d have thought I’d be writing that?). The two spacious fan ovens were set at different temperatures and having different sized hob burners proved so useful. I couldn’t have asked for more to be honest, there was plenty of space to cook everything that we needed. To put this into perspective, the chicken was roasting in the left oven with the Yorkshire puddings, and in the right oven was the roast potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, cauliflower cheese and cherry crumble.

    Under the grill, we had sausages wrapped in bacon and on the hob, we simmered gravy and boiled potatoes, broccoli, carrots and peas. Having five gas burners is such a treat and having one that’s larger is going to be perfect for batch cooking and making a quick stir fry. I did prepare way too many vegetables though, so I decided to turn them into soup. There was enough for my in-laws to take home, and some to keep in the freezer for when we need a quick lunch. This was the first time I’ve been able to cook so much at the same time. 

    That sounds delicious, our invite must have gotten lost. Did you try out any of the other features?

    Absolutely. The left oven’s ‘handyrack’ is such a great idea which I’ve not seen or tried before. It’s a roasting tray that has a wire frame, which cleverly mounts to the oven’s door. Using it meant that I could easily check on the chicken and have both hands free to baste it, without having to lift it out and back into the oven. I know this’ll be used a lot. It’s detachable and can be popped into the dishwasher too – I think it’s great.

    Another thing that I loved was the plate warming rack, which fits into the tall right oven. It safely held my dishes in place whilst the heat of the oven warmed them – it’s such a simple feature, but one that’s perfect for keeping food warm. I didn’t know that a cold plate can cool food down by up to 40% - a tip from my father-in-law! 

    The glide-out grill does exactly what it’s supposed to do – it glides in and out so smoothly. I liked this feature as it was so quick and easy to check on the food, and it was safe to use. There was no risk of me pulling the rack out too far and it falling down, all whilst I tried to grab the cheeky sausage that had rolled to the back. It was also great to have a separate grill, which is something else we haven’t had before and I already know that this is going to be useful.

    Finally, let’s talk about cleaning…it’s not my favourite thing to do, so cleaning an oven is definitely a chore for me (and I’m sure for so many others). But, this one's catalytic liners within the left hand oven made it easy to wipe away the mess. I want to spend as little time cleaning as possible, so the fact that the liners absorb and break down food is great. It then gets burnt away during cooking – fabulous idea.

    How did you find hosting with this range cooker, in comparison to before?

    It’s easy to answer this one, because there is no comparison. We would’ve never been able to cook all this food at the same time in the past. We’d have had to cook some food and then take it out, to make space in the oven for other stuff to go in. It was always a juggling act – quite stressful and time consuming.

    Because we were then having to re-warm bits in the microwave, I’d find that they were always served at different temperatures (not to mention that it looked a bit awkward in front of guests), so it was quite the opposite this time. I found that I had time to sit down, have a chat and enjoy a glass of wine before the food was ready for serving. It’s been good practice for when we host Christmas dinner, but let’s not discuss last year’s attempt…

    Don’t tease us, Donna! Finally, would you recommend this range cooker to anyone?

    I definitely would. Rangemaster have been around for about 200 years, so they know their stuff. This one’s perfect for anyone who loves entertaining and batch cooking. It’s also ideal for large families, especially those who have fussy eaters and need to cook multiple dishes at once. Or, even someone who just enjoys cooking and likes having multiple options and features to choose from. Personally, I can’t fault it.

    @love.to.be.home is using the Rangemaster KCH100DFFSS/C Kitchener 100cm Dual Fuel Range Cooker.

    This article includes a conversation between our product expert and Donna @love.to.be.home, and has been written up by our copywriter.